Gabriel's Rebellion

"No other State of the Union has thus found it necessary to protect is State-House by a permanent cordon of bayonets; indeed, the Constitution expressly prohibits to any State a standing army, however small. Yet there for sixty years has stood sentinel the "Public Guard" of Virginia, wearing the suicidal motto of that decaying Commonwealth, "Sic semper Tyrannis"; and when one asked the origin of the precaution, one learned that it was the lasting memorial of Gabriel's insurrection, the stern heritage of terror bequeathed by his defeat." Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "Gabriel's Defeat," The Atlantic Monthly, September 1862, p. 345 (337–345).

Gabriel's Rebellion and the "Burial Ground for Negroes" were the founding projects of the SGHRP. Since 2004 the story of Gabriel's Rebellion and its many legacies create contexts from which to understand the origins and evolution of Richmond, Virginia and the United States in its earliest years. 



Gabriel
(Hanged for leading a slave-revolt)
Black Gabriel, riding
To the gallow tree,
In this last hour
What do you see?

I see a thousand 
Thousand slaves
Rising up
from forgotten graves,
and their wounds drip flame
On slavery's ground,
And their chains shake Dixie
with a thunder sound.

Gabriel, Gabriel
The end is nigh,
What is your wish
Before you die?

That rebellion suckle 
The slave-mother's beast
And black men
Never, never rest. 

Till slavery's pillars
Lie splintered in dust
And slavery's chains
Lie eaten with rush.

Gabriel

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SONGS
Tim Barry, Richmond VA 
Nancy Rives, Teacher, St. Gertrude's High School

RECOMMENDED READING
partial list

Nonfiction
Gabriel's Rebellion: A Document History by Philip Schwarz, 2012
Death or Liberty by Douglas Egerton, 2012
Gabriel's Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 and 1802 by Douglas Egerton, 1993
Ploughshares into Swords: Race, Rebellion and Identity in Gabriel's Virgini  by James Sidbury, 1997
American Negro Slave Revolts by Herbert Aptheker, 1943

Fiction
Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows and The Black General Gabriel by Gigi Amateau, 2012
Black Thunder by Arna Bontemps, 1937

FILMS